4 year old anti-social behaviour(6 Posts)
Has anybody got any practical advice to help me help my ds, just 4. He's a lovely little boy at home and is fine in 1-1 situations with friends but he struggles in bigger groups. It's like he doesn't know how to relate to the other children so rather than joining in with them he will do something to annoy them e.g. bash them, rugby tackle them, push their trike along too fast etc.. or he just goes silly and wobbles his head about, sticks his tongue out etc but doesn't join in / communicate. He does this to some degree at pre-school and to a greater degree in less known situations (e.g. party with lots of bigger kids). I think he lacks confidence in these situations and I know how he feels because I hate big groups / new people situations! Any ideas very welcome!!!
Sorry, I haven't really got any advice other than that I have read that the age of 4 is a particularly sensitive and difficult age. We tend to focus on the "terrible 2" but for many children 4 is the difficult year. They are little and big at the same time and many struggle with social situations.....
Elderberry, i have a friend with a boy who behaves quite similar. She doesn't see it as a problem, but i think it has to do with confidence and being able to deal with his feelings. Alot of the time children get so excited they just dont know what to do with themselves, and it comes out as this silly, sometimes 'showing off' behaviour. Its like a need to be noticed, and in larger groups it is more difficult to be noticed and have the attention of their peers.
The only things i can suggest is to boost his self esteem a little, invite 2-3 friends around to play regularly, so he feels at ease and confident. Explain to him what makes a good friend. Tell him other children will love it if he is kind and sharing and plays nicely. I tell my daughter (rightly or wrongly) that naughty children dont have friends, or special treats. So to have lots of friends she should be this, this and this. A childs desire to be loved and popular will take over and behaviour will improve with time, as they realise that certain behaviour will reward. If they're not taught how to do it, they will find it very difficult to mix. Good luck, hope my ramblings have helped a little!
Agree very much with Rinkydink's sensible suggestion of giving him lots of 1-to-1 and small group playdates - especially with the children he might meet in the bigger groups - will help with security and also give him a sort of "anchor" among the confusion of the big group.
Other suggestion might be to find some rather structured group things for him to join - judo or Gymboree, or even drama group (like Perform which starts at 4) - so that he learns participation without having at the same time to work out for himself what to do when.
I do sympathise, as my ds was exactly the same as yours. He's now 6, and I have to say he still doesn't know how to "do" groups - partly because, of course, the other children's social skills have been developing at the same time, so that groups of 6yos are much more sophisticated than groups of 4yos. But we have seen advances - he's now fine with party games (musical statues, etc.) which he'd have opted out of at 4, and tae kwon do has done him good too. We're trying drama this summer.
Elderberry, my DS is the same - he's 4 too - and reading your tghread has reassured me! With our DS I opted for just 1-1 play sessions, which I started with a small snack. That seemed to put him at ease and break the ice. Now he's getting better at the group thing.
Laa -it's a relief to think your child is not the only one isn't it? I was wondering about how play dates with more than one other child would work (a bit concerned that the other 2 would just play with each other and leave ds out!) I think the snack idea is a good one too as he loves nothing better and might give him something to do rather than just leaping around like an excited idiot!
Thanks for your suggestions everyone, I will definitely give it a go.
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